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Real Estate Tips

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How to Quickly Stage Main Living Areas

How to Quickly Stage Main Living Areas

When staging, each room should include minimal furniture—just enough to suggest how a room might be used, leaving enough open space for potential buyers to envision how their furniture would fit.

Living Room. If your clients are downsizing and won’t have room for all their furniture in their new home, see if they are willing to use some of their nicer-looking pieces as staging props. After the home sells, any unwanted pieces can be donated or picked up by family members to whom they have been gifted.

Does your client have furniture with good “bones” but less-than-awesome upholstery? Ready-made slip-covers on couches and chairs can dress up and modernize the appearance of living areas without spending much money.

Props: Create an enticing “reading nook.” Drape a comfortable chair with lush and cozy throw beside a small table with a reading lamp, a stack of three hardbound books, and a pair of reading glasses on top.


Dining Rooms. For photos and showings, remove chairs from the ends of the table. This will prevent those chairs from breaking the long lines of the table, helping to make the room look bigger and more inviting.

The only furniture needed in a dining room is a table and chairs. Other items, like a sideboard or a china cabinet, will crowd and clutter.

Props: Use a table runner to make a bare table more inviting while maintaining its clean lines. Finish with a vase of fresh flowers or candles for a simple centerpiece that’s timeless and classic.


Kitchens. If the kitchen cabinets are structurally sound but look dated, white or light gray paint will provide an immediate upgrade. Trade worn knobs for sleek metal accents.

A nice range hood can quickly update a “tired” kitchen. Additional task lighting in darker kitchens will expand the space and make the whole room more inviting.

Props: Leave a cookbook on a counter open to a full-color photo of a delicious-looking recipe.


Master Bedroom. Eliminate excess furniture, bold colors, and patterns. Aim for a serene, calm respite from the world. Plain white sheets, a fluffy, neutral bedspread with an inviting texture, and accent pillows can make a huge difference in a master bedroom’s appeal.

Props: The focus here is on the bed. However, adding a small seating area or reading nook will make even a modest-sized bedroom look bigger and more inviting.


Bathrooms. Sometimes all a bathroom needs to be show-ready is a change of hardware and a coat of paint. Updating the faucets and cabinet hardware could give the room a fresh look at a budget price. Bright white towels, washcloths, and a white fabric shower curtain will brighten any bathroom.

If some of the dated characteristics can’t be changed, try going “retro.” Have a pink (or blue) bathtub and sink? Paint the walls light gray and the cabinets white. Add white linens, a fuzzy floor mat, and a picture that celebrates the styles of the 1950s and 1960s.